Hughes vs. Gracie
One of the featured bouts of Saturday’s UFC 112: Invincible pay per-view is a battle between mixed martial-arts legends as Matt Hughes takes on Renzo Gracie.
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Hughes enters the fight as the clear favorite with a betting line of -450 with Gracie given a line of +325 according to online sports book BroburySports.com. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this bout, which will take place from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. at 1PM ET on Pay Per-View.
Matt Hughes (43-7):
Strengths: Hughes is all about wrestling. He likes to take guys down and beat them up from there. He has the strength and speed to land many of his takedowns, especially against smaller fighters in the welterweight division. Hughes was at one time considered the most dominant welterweight champion in UFC history as his string of victories set a new standard in the middle of the last decade.
Weaknesses: While his wrestling skills are tremendous, Hughes has largely become a one-dimensional fighter as time has passed. He has not been able to keep up to speed with the new style of fighters that are strong in every area. Hughes has attempted to improve his boxing, but his speed and punching power don’t stack up to most of his opponents. Hughes has also gotten a step slow on his takedown attempts and even his takedown defense, as most of his opponents have not been afraid to take the fight to the ground with him.
Last Five Fights:
Unanimous decision win over Matt Serra at UFC 98 on May 23, 2009
Second round TKO loss to Thiago Alves at UFC 85 on June 7, 2008
Second round submission loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 79 on Dec. 29, 2007
Unanimous decision win over Chris Lytle at UFC 68 on March 3, 2007
Second round TKO loss to
Renzo Gracie (13-6-1):
Strengths: One of the pioneers of MMA and a member of the storied Gracie family, Renzo is a jiu-jitsu specialist that wraps up a solid all-around game into his fighting style. The 43-year old Gracie isn’t afraid to mix it up with anyone either, as he believes his skills are superior to anyone and he has the heart to show it. A solid wrestler and respectable striker, Gracie understand that a mixed martial artist needs to be polished in every area.
Weaknesses: The veteran of MMA has not fought in a professional fight since a 2007 DQ win over Frank Shamrock and this will be his first fight as part of the UFC. Gracie has been mentoring and training fighters since then and keeps in shape, but not being tested inside the octagon or a ring in three years has to be a concern. Gracie has relied on guys like Georges St. Pierre for this fight as GSP has defeated Hughes soundly on two occasions. Conditioning could be a factor in this fight as Hughes is always in shape.
Last Five Fights:
Second round DQ win over Frank Shamrock at EliteXC-Destiny on Feb. 10, 2007
Split decision win over Carlos Newton at IFL Championship on Dec. 29, 2006
First round submission win over Pat Miletich at IFL-Gracie vs. Miletich on Sept. 23, 2006
Unanimous decision loss to B.J. Penn at K-1 Hawaii on July 29, 2005
Split decision loss to Carlos Newton at Pride Bushido 1 on Oct. 5, 2003
Who will win: The betting lines are surprising for this fight as Gracie is not getting much respect. Gracie is always going to be looking for ways to win and even on his back, he has the ability to land a submission on Hughes. Hughes will simply look for the takedown each round to score a decision. The longer this fight goes, the more it favors Hughes, but we like Gracie in an upset with a submission in the second round.
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Posted: 4/8/10 9:32PM ET